Tuesday, July 9, 2013
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Some Numbers Do Lie
Once every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases employment statistics to the American public. The numbers reflect how many job openings and separations have occurred in our country along with employment and unemployment figures in relation to the previous reporting period.
In their report today, July 9, the BLS announced little had changed since April. As of the last business day of May, there were 3.8 million job openings.
The hires rate of 3.3% was offset by the separations rate of 3.2%. Not much action here.
June employment numbers weren't any prettier. The BLS report released July 5 showed unemployment unchanged at 7.6%. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 195,000 jobs, signaling a slow but steady boost in our economy.
Here's what they didn't tell you: The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons, those working part-time because their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job, increased by 322,000 to 8.2 million in June.
In June, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, a number unchanged from a year earlier. These are folks who wanted to work and were available, but not counted as unemployed because they hadn't searched for work in the previous four weeks.
The U-6 unemployment rate, which includes those marginally attached, rose to 14.3% in June. May's U-6 rate was 13.8%. Many analysts see this as a better indicator of where we really stand job-wise in this country.
One more little fact: Of the 195,000 new jobs filled over the previous month's figures, 114,000 of them were part-time.
These statistics are taken directly from the reports released on the BLS website. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend doing so. What you find may surprise you.
The last time our country's unemployment rate was below 6% was July 2008. We are now in our seventh year of a sustained jobs crisis.
The economy has wobbled, yet slowly recovered. The jobs have not followed.
Only 47% of Americans have full-time jobs. Those 47% are paying the way for the 53% who struggle to find meaningful employment.
Congratulations, graduates! This is the new reality you'll face as you hit the pavements in search of your first job. Hope you took some marketing courses, because job-hunting today is more than a match of your skills to employer need. You'll have to sell yourself to a hiring manager inundated with resumes from countless other folks who also think they're the right candidate for the opening.
It helps if you want to land a job in the leisure and hospitality industry. This area has seen the largest growth recently, including food services, drinking places and gambling establishments.
Technical consultants and computer systems designers will find it easier to land a job, too. These fields are always in high demand.
The healthcare industry continues to add jobs as well, especially in the area of ambulatory healthcare services. Hospitals added 5,000 jobs in June, not nearly enough to offset the 8,000 lost in May.
So while the numbers appear ugly, there are jobs available. If you're among those looking for work, read on. The next article offers tips on landing that new job.
You have your degree in hand. You took a couple of weeks to catch your breath and revel in your accomplishments.
The fireworks are over, and so is your vacation. Time to get serious about landing a job.
The Internet is flooded with tips on creating your resume, researching prospective employers and writing a targeted cover letter. So we won't rehash any of that in this article.
But we will talk about how to spend your free time once your resumes are in the mail. Remember, party time is over. Resting on your laurels and waiting for the phone to ring won't get you very far.
Imagine spending all of your time doing good for someone or something else. What would you do? Would you serve food to the homeless? Read a book to children? Walk shelter dogs?
This is your chance to do it. If you spend just a few hours every week performing the service that leaves you feeling the most fulfilled, you'll have accomplished far more than the task at hand.
You're networking with others who share your same interests. One of whom may know of a job soon to be available. You already have one foot in the door.
A position may open with the organization you're volunteering to help. You already know the internal processes and proven to be a punctual, hard-worker. Who better to hire?
You're gaining new skills. And when you do land an interview, you'll have a far better story to share when asked how you've been spending your down time than those sharpening their video game skills.
The interview... Do your knees buckle at the very thought of being scrutinized by someone who holds your future in their hands? You're not alone. Preparation is the key.
A good number of employers are using a phone interview to weed out applicants who appear equal on paper. It's a pre-interview to narrow down those worthy of meeting in person.
They can learn a lot from the sound of your voice and the way you present yourself on the phone. Avoid all distractions. Turn off your computer, ditch your smartphone (unless you're using it for the interview!). Keep your focus on the person on the other end of the phone in order to answer questions intelligently.
Smile as if you're meeting the person face-to-face. Your enthusiasm will come through over the phone.
Be natural, don't sound as if you're following a script. Conclude by telling them you're looking forward to meeting him or her.
Once you have that opportunity, dress appropriately. Leave the lip ring and any other statement symbols you may wear at home. Check your interview clothes for spots and wrinkles. Dress for confidence.
Allow extra travel time for unexpected factors like a delivery truck blocking your planned route or trouble finding a parking space. Enter the building 10 to 15 minutes before your appointment. Leave your cell phone in the car.
Bring extra copies of your resume and a copy of your references along with you. Blank paper and a pen to take notes allows you to jot down the proper spelling of names of everyone you meet along with their titles. Very helpful when you write follow-up notes afterward.
Hide your anxiety by speaking with confidence and making a lot of eye contact. Be a good listener and respond when they are finished speaking. Resist the temptation to interrupt to share a story. You'll have your turn - as long as you wait for it to occur at the proper time. Interrupt and your poor manners have closed that door.
Understand what the interviewer asks before responding. If you're unsure, ask for clarification. Give specific examples of your success rather than a vague story that leads them to come to their own conclusion. A busy hiring manager doesn't have time to ponder your tale to figure out what you meant.
That doesn't mean they won't try to do the same to you. The most basic sounding questions may be nothing more than a device to detect how you handle yourself.
Something as simple as "Tell me about yourself" could be their way of learning how articulate you can be. Give them brief facts, not your life story. Don't get too personal. If you did your homework and researched the company before you got there, use what you learned about them in your response. Example: "I'm one of the first to arrive for community cleanups. I see your company is involved in organizing this type of event, too. It's important to me to work for a company that shares my principles and one of the reasons I applied for this position."
"Tell me about a time where you failed or did something you wish you hadn't." Now here's a tough question. It's okay to appear caught off guard or distraught having to recall a bad experience. Focus on the resolution or what you learned from the episode. Again, don't get too personal or reveal something truly embarrassing. They likely want to know how you recovered from the ordeal rather than the grisly details.
Silence. Another ploy to throw you into a quandary. Most applicants will start to ramble mindlessly to fill the void. What the interviewer wants to know is how you handle the stress. Take this opportunity to catch your breath and maintain eye contact. Let him or her know a little scrutiny won't ruffle you.
Ask your own questions during the silence. Perhaps turn the tables, asking how long they've been with the company and what they like most about it. Ask how the open position became available. Is it a new job? Was it due to a promotion or termination?
Be inquisitive. Ask about something you learned during your research. Are they opening a new facility somewhere? Launching a new product line? Involved in merger talks? Here's your chance to show genuine interest in the company. Show them you are the most prepared of all of the candidates they will consider. And the one they should hire.
What is the strangest question you were ever asked during an interview? What extra steps did you take to land a new job? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your job hunting stories and they may appear in an upcoming issue of GCFlash.
Tip of the Week
You got the interview. Have you done all you can to prepare? Use Monster.com's Interview Take-Along Checklist to make sure you don't miss a thing. Find it here.
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